FIFE 1987 water budget analysis


  • Q. Y. Duan,

  • J. C. Schaake,

  • V. I. Koren


The First International Satellite Land Surface Climatology Project (ISLSCP) Field Experiment (FIFE) represents one of the largest data collection campaigns to date in our endeavor to observe the hydrodynamic and thermodynamic processes occurring on the land surface of the Earth. Data for FIFE have been widely used to improve our understanding of land surface processes and to improve the representation of the land surface and boundary layer in atmospheric models. Because FIFE data are being used to test models of land surface processes, it is important to examine how well the FIFE data preserve the water budget. Therefore this study examined the data consistency issue from a hydrologic perspective. More specifically, we investigated whether there is a consistent land surface water balance for the FIFE area over the 1987 experiment period. All components of water balance, i.e., rainfall, evaporation, runoff, and soil moisture, were examined individually as well as collectively. Gridded fields were made of each component. Both the gridded fields and areal averages were analyzed. The processed data were also compared with the data sets processed by other researchers. Inconsistencies in the data were pointed out and the sources were investigated. The results indicate that spatially averaged rainfall, fluxes, and soil moisture storage time series derived from the FIFE data close the water budget reasonably well. It is recommended that these data be used for future development and testing of models.